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Here's what you should do if you see Islamophobia, says Parisian artist

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Here's what you should do if you see Islamophobia, says Parisian artist

Here's what you should do if you see Islamophobia, says Parisian artist
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Credit Maeril
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Ignore Islamophobic harassment and make perpetrators feel insignificant; that's what a viral cartoon by illustrator Maeril advises members of the public to do.

Credit Maeril
Director & illustrator Marie-Shirine YenerCredit Maeril

Her real name is Marie-Shirine Yener, 24, and she lives in Paris. Speaking to Euronews she said she created the cartoon to remedy what she saw as "rampant" Islamophobia in France.

"I feel quite helpless to see such hatred enabled by society and the absence of protection from the authorities," she said.

It used the idea of non-complementary behaviour — diffusing a hostile situation by breaking the link a potential attacker is attempting to establish with the target — and advises bystanders to engage victims suffering Islamophobic abuse in conversation and ignore the perpetrator.

"It can be anything: a movie you liked, the weather," she wrote. “Keep eye contact with them, and don’t acknowledge the attacker’s presence: the absence of response from you two will push them to leave the area shortly.”

Courtesy Maeril

Yener herself is not Muslim but comes from a diverse background and has been exposed to Islam through her family and Parisian neighbourhood, among other influences.

She says the technique shown in her drawings can be used in any situation where someone is experiencing verbal harassment.

Maeril's cartoon was initially shared on Tumbler where it was met with huge popularity, garnering over 200,000 responses.

Such was its acclaim that authorities in Boston used the guide at the centre of a public service campaign, displaying the posters with the cartoon at bus stops and in other public spaces.

Yener said her guide is a good place to start for non-physical situations only and in addition to her cartoon she advises members of the public to leave the area with the affected person to ensure the attacker does not "come back for more".

The rest of Maeril's work focuses "a lot on mental health and self-care," where she shares ideas that helped her in difficult situations, and that she hopes will help others "find peace, too".